…in which Nicky contemplates all the things she didn’t know she loved about home until she went somewhere else.
A friend told me, ‘we’re planning an Island trip at the end of the month, if you fancy it.’ I replied that I too was planning an island trip, but somewhat further afield than koh samet. And, as I prepare for my much anticipated visit back to the homeland and indeed the Home Counties, I find myself getting all excited over certain things for which, in their absence, I have discovered a special affection. Here are the things, besides my lovely family (including my nephew who gets more squadgable at every skype appointment) and gorgeous friends, that I cannot wait to enjoy and appreciate anew:
Pubs – proper ones, cosy ones, with open fires and charming bearded drunks languishing amongst horse brasses; set, preferably, in a cobbled stable yard!
Marks and Spencer’s sandwiches, salads and underwear, none of which have anything approaching an equivalent in BKK. Ahhhh to have edible mayonnaise.
Being in a city which has historical architecture to spare. England is so blasé about its endless gorgeous Georgian townhouses, Tudor mansions and other listed delights that its people think nothing of using the ground floor for a phone shop or Primark.
For that matter, Primark!
Chavs! and mouthy kids… they don’t really have them here and, you know what? I rather miss them, the cheeky little shits!
My mum’s sausage beany casserole (get that slow-cooker on immediately if not sooner) and my brother-in-law’s paella.
The countryside. Through no-one’s fault but my own, in the nearly six months I have lived in Bangkok, I have not been out of the city. But, even in London, you are never more than a lunch break’s stroll away from a green, a square or a rambling park with rose gardens, bandstands and boating lakes. Make ready the picnic basket and Frisbee!
Being able to eat on the go – I know it’s messy and stinky and I really appreciate how clean public transport is in Bangkok, but oh for a kebab on the train!
Knitwear. I didn’t get to wear a Christmas jumper this year and I’m not sure I’m going to let the fact that it’s March stop me when I touch down in chillier climes!
A bloody good queue complete with sighing, tutting, pointed watch-gazing and Olympic-standard moaning. People here are just so darn content and patient.
Proper (read: venomous) banter – not the wishy-washy good-natured kind. In the words of Mickey Flanagan: ‘take me back to the UK, where sanity prevails and people know how to take the piss properly!’
And perhaps most of all…. my Beloved Bastion of Charm, the incomparable BBC. Let’s hear it for the Big British Castle and all of its inhabitants from Stephen Fry and David Attenborough to Nick Grimshaw and Tess Daly. Bring them right on!